JASDF welcomes first operational F-35A aircraft at Misawa Air Base

31 January 2018 (Last Updated January 31st, 2018 12:30)

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) first operational F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighter aircraft has arrived at the Misawa Air Base.

JASDF welcomes first operational F-35A aircraft at Misawa Air Base
JASDF’s F-35A aircraft. Credit: The USAF / staff sergeant Deana Heitzman.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) first operational F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighter aircraft has arrived at the Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Developed by Lockheed Martin, the F-35A is a high-performance aircraft equipped with advanced electronics to enhance situational awareness and maximise air superiority.

The fifth-generation aircraft is being procured by 12 countries, including Japan.

JASDF 3rd Air Wing commander major general Kenichi Samejima said: “The F-35A will bring transformation in air defence power and significantly contribute to the peace for citizens and ensure security.

“All service members will do their best to secure flight safety and promptly establish an operational squadron structure step-by-step.”

Nine additional aircraft will join the newly delivered F-35A in the upcoming fiscal year of Japan in order to begin the first fifth-generation fighter squadron as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing.

“We look forward to training alongside our JASDF counterparts and continuing to enhance the safety and security of Japan together.”

JASDF Misawa Air Base 35th Fighter Wing commander colonel R Scott Jobe said: “This aircraft represents not only a big step forward in technological advancements and combat capabilities but also in US-Japan relations.

“We look forward to training alongside our JASDF counterparts and continuing to enhance the safety and security of Japan together.”

The official initial deployment of the F-35A fighter jet with the JASDF will take place on 24 February at the Misawa Air Base.

The JASDF intends to buy a total of 42 F-35A aircraft that would replace its existing fleet of F-4 jets.